Jezebel Her Story
Jezebel, which means, “Where is the prince?” The “prince;” in which, Jezebel’s name reference was Baal. Baal was the god of agriculture and weather, this was the god in which Jezebel and her family worshipped, along with Baal’s many other followers, who chanted “Where is the prince, as a prayer to encourage the onset of spring and the return of vegetation.” Jezebel remained faithful to Baal even unto her death. The story of Jezebel takes place after the death of Solomon. Israel faced hard ship both economically and politically during this period, and there was division amongst the people as various dynasties fought to hold on to political power. It was during this time that Jezebel married Ahab, and became queen of the northern kingdom of Israel, in which Jezebel and Ahab ruled together.
Jezebel is also considered one of the most dangerous women in the Bible she has been referenced as a prostitute and a murder. Jezebel was also considered evil and influential. She was accused by the prophets Elijah and Elisha for the deaths of many of Gods prophets during her reign of queen. It was Elijah who prophesied that Jezebel would die a horrible death by being “torn apart by dogs of Jezreel” (I Kings, 21:23).
The name Jezebel is found in the New Testament it is used symbolically referencing Jezebel as a false prophetess who seeks to influence the people of God, into witchcraft and other practices that cause division within the church. The story of Jezebel is found in the book of 1 Kings Chapters 16-19 and II Kings chapter 9.
Jezebel was a prince born in Sidon. Her father was a strong man who had usurped the throne he was a force not to be reckoned with. Jezebel was truly her father’s daughter. She was ambitious and strong willed; taking whatever she wanted by any means necessary. Jezebel married Ahab, who was the son of a famous warrior king of Israel called Omri, who had also usurped the throne, and was one of the great warriors and builders during his era.
Jezebel was dedicated to her religion even after moving to Israel she continued to worship her gods. She believed in her gods, and may have been a high Priestess in the worship of Baal. Baal, who was the god of storms, rivers, and waters, was perhaps her most beloved. But there was also Asherah, who was the wife of Baal. Asherah was the god who personified the fertility of all females and was a fierce champion of the family. During rituals and sacrifices, Jezebel would have worn heavy make-up and clothing of a priestess, which was seen by the Israelites as a sign of an immoral woman.
Monotheism (the belief that there is only one God) was not being practiced by most people during this era, for many believed and worshipped more than one god. The Israelites wavered between Yahweh and Baal, and because of this hatred arised between the priest of Yahweh and Baal leading to murder between opponents.
Jezebel meets Elijah
Jezebel favored the priests of Baal, and she became extremely agitated with Elijah an Israelite prophet, after hundreds of her priest, were slaughtered on Mount Carmel, by the Jahwist devotees led by Elijah. Jezebel swore revenge against the prophet. Elijah had no other choice but to go into hiding. Interestingly Jezebel appeared to be very loyal to her husband Ahab considering all the many stories that she was a prostitute Jezebel had every opportunity to have slept with the men servants, while Ahab was constantly away leading men to battle, instead Jezebel was responsible for keeping the government on track, which gave her the opportunity to exercise great power.
Jezebel obviously learned from her father, who was an absolute monarch; he was not restrained by laws, a constitution, or any customs. Jezebel believed that a kings words was bond (law). Unlike the Israelites, who was still reluctant to accept government, who the viewed at the time as having too much power.
Jezebel husband Ahab needed a certain plot to serve the palace of Jezreel, but the owner of the land, Naboth decided not to sell. Naboth was not happy with the change that he saw coming, the rich getting richer, while the poor who represented the general population grew poorer. Ahab was sad and unable to eat when Jezebel found her husband in this state she asked “Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?”
Ahab responded to his wife and said, “Because I spake unto Naboth the Jezreelite, and said unto him, Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.”
Jezebel replied “Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”
Jezebel deceitfully wrote letters in Ahab’s name. After sealing the letters with his seal, she sent the letters to the elders and nobles, who lived in the city where Naboth dwelled. In the letter she wrote, Jezebel proclaimed a fast to set Naboth on high among the people. Two men, sons of Belial, was set before Naboth, to bear false witness against him, accusing him of blaspheme against God and the King. They were ordered to take him out and stone him to death. Jezebel’s plan went as followed and Naboth was killed.
Jezebels Son becomes King
Ahab died a noble death in battle, and his son Ahaziah became King. Two years after his reign as King, Ahazih died in an accident, falling from the balcony in the palace. The second son of Ahab and Jezebel, Joram took his brothers place and became King, a few years later he was killed by Jehu, a man who served in Joram’s army. Jezebel so her son die, he was shot in the chest. The death of Jezebels sons was no accidents, it was promised by God, to Ahab that because of the evil that was done to Naboth. But because Ahab humbled himself before God, God spoke and said, “Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me? because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.”
The Death of Jezebel
When Jezebel had received word of that she would be killed, she painted her eyes and adorned her head, and waited for Jehu to come to Jezreel. When he arrived Jezebel looked out of the second story window with her ritual make-up painted on her face in hopes to seduce Jehu that he may allow her to live. Her tricks were no longer useful, she failed to seduce Jehu. Instead Jezebel was killed. As the consequence of her actions of evil against Naboth, Jezebel was flung from the high balcony, by her own eunuchs. Jezebel died wearing her ritual make-up. Her eyes were adorned with paint; she wore her royal attire, including her crown. Perhaps this is where we get the expression “painted like a Jezebel.”
Jezebel fell to the ground hitting the pavement outside the palace courtyard. Jehu ran his iron chariot back and forth over Jezebels dying body. Afterwards he went into the palace to celebrate her death. Reminded that she was lying in the courtyard Jehu ordered that she be buried, as a queen should be, but it was too late for the palace dogs had gotten to her body first, and all that was left of queen Jezebel was her head and her hands.